When twelve-year-old Theresa Martinez’s mom dies, money problems force her family to move into her dead grandmother’s creepy old mansion. Immediately, strange things start to happen. The powdered sugar she’s been searching the kitchen for suddenly falls out of a cupboard. Closed curtains are mysteriously open—all fun stuff for Theresa’s new ghost-obsessed friend Kerry. When they find out the reality show, Ghosters, is hosting a contest for the best paranormal recording, Theresa remembers Dad’s money problems and vows to win the contest. Along with Joey, her little brother who has Asperger’s, the girls use Kerry’s ghost-chasing equipment to hopefully capture prizewinning evidence. They soon discover that ghosts are just the tip of the stunning mysteries the old house holds.
Ghosters is one of those books that make me want to share every emotion I experienced every step of the way, and why, with example citations. But I can’t; I won’t risk spoiling your adventure with Diana Corbitt’s wonderful characters: twelve-year-old Theresa – who’s much the mom of her family since the recent loss of their mother – her younger brother, and her new schoolmate, Kerry, visiting from England.
I almost said: so, let me just tell you how it made me feel, this book. But I can’t do that either. I can’t say I FELT it… I just WAS, wrapped in the Ghosters world the second my eyes hit the page; wrapped in the human warmth and kindness, the ache and kinship the author conveys through her characters’ actions, their surroundings… her art and labor in this is impressive – as well done or better than what I liked best about “Calliope Jones and The Last World Diver”; all with the simplest if aptest words and everyday similes that conjure images and evoke memories far more informative and impactful than words; surely, all, painstakingly chosen.
Rapt with the storyline, I was drawn to the end, unawares, spellbound, like an ion through a drift tube, watching, wondering, itching to learn, what will the kids discover, about themselves, about their family? Something dreadful? Something healing? But more urgently, more pressing: what will happen next?!
I wondered, too, early in the story: how come I’m not scared? Is something missing? No. It just isn’t. I don’t think it’s intended to be. Intense, yes. Eerie? Yes. Scary, no. Not unless tension mounting at the thought of confronting your own fear of the never-yet-experienced scares you.
That tension ratcheted up, and up, like a crossbow’s string, cranked back, notch by notch, again and again, tightening alarmingly, so it seemed at any moment an arrow must loose, and BAM! A new obstacle! And frustration – the kids’, my own – cranked the tension higher still.
You shake your head and think: that kind of involvement in a story’s just all in your head; your willingness to suspend disbelief… S’okay, reading IS all in your head, but I think you’ll find the dialog and action SO REALISTIC – so often positively PHOTO-realistic – there’s be no need to consciously suspend disbelief; no choice in the matter, either. You’re just there, right there, with the kids.
And when the arrow does finally slip, the release is sublime. A denouement among denouements, in a story to grip and enchant middle-grade and grown-up kids alike.
~ Roan Reedling
About Diana Corbitt
Diana Corbitt has lived in northern California her entire life. She and her husband Michael have two sons who stop by often, usually, to hangout in the backyard. Besides her wonderful family, Diana also loves the beach, traveling, and eating popcorn at the movies. Although Diana will watch pretty much any movie to satisfy her craving for popcorn, the scary ones are her go to. Gotta get that rush!
Visit Diana Corbitt’s website.